tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN August 6, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
exposure? preparing to respond. the president's lawyer rudy guiliani tells cnn that trump legal team is getting ready to answer robert mueller about a possible interview with the president. will they seek concessions from the special counsel? face to face. paul manafort's former right-hand man rick gates takes the stand as the star witness for the prosecution against the former trump campaign chairman. how damning will his testimony be. and second summit. cnn learned kim jong-un and president trump could meet again this year despite north korea's lack of progress on denuclearization and continued weapons building. did the president and dictator discuss it in a recent exchange of letters. welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i am wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." breaking news tonight. cnn has learned that president
trump is being urged to stop tweeting about the 2016 trump tower meeting between his top advisers and group of russians, including a lawyer directly tied to the kremlin. president trump breathed new life into the story with a tweet acknowledging the meeting it was to get dirt on hillary clinton, not adoptions as the president and his son donald trump jr. first claimed. we'll talk about that and more with the top democrat on the house armed services committee, congressman allen smith. former director of national intelligence, james clapper, and our correspondents and analysts are standing by. first, let's go to our chief white house correspondent, jim acosta, near the president's new jersey golf club where the president is spending the week. jim, the president continues to tweet about this trump tower meeting against the wishes of his legal and political advisers. >> he is steering clear of the media, laying low after resurrecting controversy over his son donald trump jr.'s meet
white gold the russians during the 2016 campaign. the president making it all too clear that meeting was aimed at getting dirt on hillary clinton which is not at all how the meeting was explained by the trump team to the american people last year. keeping out of the public eye while on vacation in new jersey, president trump still managed to ignite a fire storm where else but on his smart phone, tweeting about the infamous trump tower meeting with the russians in 2016. worried about donald trump jr. being in legal jeopardy, the president tweeted this was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics, and it went nowhere. i did not know about it. the president's legal team is trying to clean up the mess, privately urging mr. trump to stop tweeting and clarifying the special counsel's office is fully aware of the meeting's purpose. >> it is important to point out in a situation like this, you
have over time facts develop. >> reporter: the problem for the president, trump jr. initially released a misleading statement to "new york times" about the meeting which was also attended by his son-in-law, jared kushner, and campaign chairman paul manafort. trump jr.'s statement said we primarily discussed a program about the adoption of russian children. no mention that it was about getting russian dirt on hillary clinton. >> you're sending your son, a family member, to talk with a foreign government that is an active enemy or potential adversary at least of this country to talk about information that you could use against your opponent, the optics of that are absolutely terrifying and very disturbing. >> reporter: the president previously acknowledged the true purpose of the meeting days after the initial misleading statement was issued by his son. >> i think from a practical standpoint most people would have taken that meeting. it is called opposition research or even research into your opponent. >> reporter: even as the white house offered conflicting explanations, insisting it was
about russian adoptions. >> there was nothing as far as we know that would lead anyone to believe that there was anything except for discussion about adoption. >> reporter: the president's team also mislead the public about whether mr. trump was involved in drafting that statement to "new york times" for his son. >> do want to be clear, the president was not involved in drafting of the statement and did not issue the statement. it came from donald trump jr. >> he certainly didn't dictate, but like i said, he weighed in, offered suggestion like any father kwould do. >> reporter: now the team concedes he dictated that statement. >> i had bad information. i made a mistake in my statement. i talked about that before. that happens when you have cases like this. >> reporter: key question that remains, whether the president knew about the meeting's true purpose ahead of time. trump jr. insisted his father didn't know about the meeting. >> did you tell your father anything about that? >> it was such a nothing, there was nothing to tell. >> reporter: despite the changing stories, the president's top advisers defend
his characterization that the russian investigation is a hoax. >> the issue for the president i think is the political argument made by his opponents that somehow he conspired with the russians and they helped him defeat hillary clinton. that's what he thinks is the hoax. that's what i understand it to be. >> reporter: as for concerns inside president's team about tweeting, it has been an on-going concern for legal advisers. one of the president's past attorneys, you recall, stepped down in part from his position because of the president's tweets. wolf, this is something they have been talking about since there was a trump campaign during the election of 2016, getting the president or getting at that time donald trump to stop tweeting and getting himself in trouble. now there are real concerns inside the legal team that it could get him into legal jeopardy if he continues to tweet about this investigation at a very critical time. >> he has more than 50 million followers on twitter. i suspect he isn't stopping
tweeting any time soon. his favorite vehicle to get his message. jim acosta, thank you very much. let's dig deeper. chief political correspondent dana bash is with us and crime and justice reporter. you have been talking to sources, what are they telling you? >> jim was talking about the fact that it is the biggest -- not a secret at all that the president tweets and tweets despite the fact that his aides have said please don't do this because he feels rightly so that on a number of occasions he has had success with the kind of constituencies that he needs. but in this particular case, in the case of tweeting about trump tower, i am told that he was urged to cut it out, to stop, because not so much because it is a potential legal problem for him but because it gives oxygen to the story. we are talking so much today rightly so, understandably so, about the trump tower meeting,
what happened, what didn't happen, what the reason was, despite the fact that we don't have a lot of new information we're doing that because the president of the united states tweeted about it. and went further talking about some of the details than he has before, and did so reacting to a news story. he is such a goliath, somebody that's so powerful in his own world that people in and around him don't tend to buck him when it comes to tweeting because it is a blessing and curse as somebody said to me today, but on this particular issue they're saying just put the phone down, please. >> calm down a little bit. also getting new reporting on rudy guiliani, the president's personal lawyer. i take it they're getting ready to respond to mueller, and mueller's latest proposal for a sit down interview with the president. >> i lost track of the number of proposals and counter proposals there are now, but right, the ball is in the trump team's court now. robert mueller sent them a
counter proposal last week of what parameters could be in a potential interview with the president. and guiliani told me that as soon as today, maybe tomorrow, they are going to give another proposal. now, the back and forth has been going on for months and the question really is, big open question, whether there's going to be any resolution. whether at the end of the negotiations the president is really going to sit down with robert mueller in any way, shape or form because as we have been hearing and saying repeatedly, his legal team, pretty much everyone around him thinks it is a terrible idea. it is a perjury trap. it is a nightmare situation. but he feels he wants to clear his name. we'll see. guiliani wouldn't give me details of the counter proposal. hopefully we'll get more information once it is given to special counsel. >> we know last year when "new york times" broke this story of the trump tower meeting with the russians. there was a statement drafted
aboard air force one that suggested it was all about adoption, stuff like that. this is something the mueller team is looking closely at right now, especially in the aftermath of the president's own tweets. >> absolutely. and dana knows this, this is one of the questions, one of the many questions mueller has had for the president, and it is probably one of the questions that the president's legal team doesn't want him talking a lot about. their feeling, i remember one of the lawyers saying it is none of mueller's business if the president lied to "new york times." we're now in the middle of a big investigation. it is mueller's business if the president lied because the idea that he, perhaps someone, whether the president or someone else may have been trying to cover up publicly this meeting and say why don't we say it was about adoptions, it goes to also the state of mind of what the president was thinking at the time, why did he feel the need to direct, to mislead, to lie in this statement to the public. that's a key issue here in this
investigation. i think that's where yesterday's tweet, again, it goes to the president's state of mind. you can see investigators at the fbi, prosecutors wanting to ask why did you tweet that yesterday. why did you tweet so and so in 2016 regarding the trump tower meeting. now you're changing it and saying it was about getting dirt on hillary clinton. so there's a lot of follow-up here that is quite clear the president's legal team is trying to limit. and if the president keeps tweeting about an investigation, it is only causing him more problems and harm. >> when you talk about state of mind, that's so key because one of the most important, the most important argument that a special counsel or investigator can make when it comes to interviewing the president of the united states is that he and only he can answer the questions. when you talk about somebody's state of mind, there's just one person that can answer that, and that's the person who's mind you're talking about.
>> don't know if donald trump jr. has spoken to mueller's team. >> that's important, wolf. he seems to be one of the only people in that meeting that mueller could actually talk to if he wanted to talk to that he has not talked to. we know the translator has been in to see mueller about the meeting, we know the music promoter has been in to see mueller. we know there are others. washington, d.c. fixer that's been in to see mueller. but interestingly enough, donald trump jr. has not. and i think if we know anything about how mueller is doing the investigation, that's significant, i think. >> kushner met with mueller. >> and kushner, too, met with mueller about it. >> if somebody is really in trouble, they're the last person you talk to. >> that's right. manafort was present for that meeting. he hasn't been interviewed by mueller, he has a lure. >> -- has a lawyer. >> he has other issues. guys, thank you very much. let's get more from democratic congressman adam smith joining us from the armed
services committee. thanks for joining us. let's get right to the questions. is the president making things worse for himself with all of these tweets? >> well, obviously from a legal standpoint he is making things worse. how the public reacts to it , t president thinks the tweets appeal to his base. and they do. they fire up his base. that's what he tries to do. that's how he holds the rallies. in terms of people that aren't part of his solid base and in terms of legal strategy behind that, the more you talk, the more you open up to exposure legally. the most interesting thing about all of this that i don't think has been emphasized enough is from the beginning the president, donald trump jr., the attorney general, a series of people have consistently lied about their interactions with russians. they were asked about this repeatedly before all of this stuff came out in november and december and they all said never happened, donald trump jr., said
he never had any meetings with any russian officials. why did they lie about it? why did they so consistently lie about their interactions that have now come to light with a whole series of different people connected to the russian government. >> do you believe, congressman, the president's tweets could be used by the special counsel, robert mueller and his team to get at his state of mind which is so important to proving obstruction of justice? >> exactly. obstruction of justice is the issue here. there's two issues. one is conspiracy. did the trump campaign conspire with russian operatives to try to influence the election. but the other issue is did the president then try to obstruct the investigation into the charges. so when he tweets like he did, not the one saturday but from a week ago that he wants to shut down the entire investigation, he's made it very, very clear he wants to stop the investigation and that, you know, that flirts with obstruction of justice. so the more often he says that,
the more potential legal jeopardy he is in. >> why do you think the president is apparently coming fully clean about the meeting, the purpose of the meeting after all the months of misleading the american people? >> i don't know. i mean, it is sort of like with the whole firing of attorney general, sorry, fbi comey. when it first came out, well, we have a memo, blah blah blah. then within 24 hours after claiming it was a series of things with lester holt, he says oh, no, i fired him. it was my choice. it was because of the russian investigation. so how president trump's mind works on this is hard to say but he has certainly proven over and over again he will change his story whenever he wants to and not even along any sort of pattern that seems to be self interested. just what pops into his head any given moment. >> the president's personal attorney rudy guiliani says they'll decide within the next
day or so on a meeting with robert mueller. this could go all the way to the u.s. supreme court if the president refuses to grant an interview to the special counsel. special counsel then has to issue a subpoena. how do you see this fight playing out? >> well, it's interesting. i think legally it is clear, you can't ignore a subpoena, even if you're the president of the united states. if you're subpoenaed by a lawful investigation, you have to testify. now, you can take the fifth, there's a bunch of things you can do, but nobody has the right to ignore a subpoena. however, remember the supreme court we have. if this goes up to this supreme court, you can bring it back to nixon when the supreme court at that time required president nixon to turn over the tapes because they were following the law. as i've noted before, this supreme court seems to make its decisions based on what donald trump and what the republican party want as opposed to precedence of the constitution. we're headed towards a very
difficult situation, and look, it is really simple. the president simply has to cooperate with this investigation. it's a lawful, legitimate investigation. no serious person questions that the russians at the highest level were involved trying to influence our election, using cyber attacks, disinformation campaign, hacking e-mails. we need to get to the bottom of what happened. to the extent the president is trying to stop that, he's not only potentially committing a crime, he is harming national security interests of the united states of america. >> adam smith, thanks for joining us. >> thanks, wolf. appreciate it. just ahead, president trump comes clean about the trump tower meeting with russians after more than a year of misleading the public. was any crime committed? details of rick gates' testimony for the prosecution in the trial of his former boss, paul manafort. fact is, every insurance company hopes you drive safely.
just stick with badda book. badda boom. book now at choicehotels.com ( ♪ ) (grunting) today is your day. crush it. angie's boom chicka pop whole grain popcorn. boom! breaking news this hour. growing concern within the trump team over the president's continued tweeting about the 2016 meeting featuring top campaign officials and group of russians at trump tower in new york. cnn is told the president is being urged to stop bringing up the meeting which he said in a weekend tweet was expected to produce dirt on hillary clinton. previously the president said the meeting was about adoptions. joining us now, former director of national intelligence, cnn national security analyst, retired general james clapper. thanks for joining us. let me put up on the screen the
tweet the president posted. fake news reporting, complete fabrication that i am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son donald had in trump tower. this was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal, done all the time in politics and it went nowhere. i did not know about it. how significant is this tweet from the president after a long, long time of suggesting that whole meeting was about adoptions. >> i think politically quite significant, just the fact that there's been a long standing practice of deception, objeand i suspect to use a military phrase, prepping the battlefield for revelations that make him to the mueller investigation, what the real point of the meeting was, which i think most people understood anyway. i think it is quite significant politically. legally, i don't know. >> do you think a crime, based
on your reading of the law, was a crime committed? >> well, it is not a crime to lie to the public. what it does show though i think is intent. major kpoenlt, ingredient in conspiracy or obstruction investigation, what was the real intent. to me, this is nefarious intent. and to draw back a little, wolf, why meetings with the russians. our arch adversary. this to me thickens the plot. >> today he did a radio interview with laura ingraham earlier this afternoon. let me play a little clip. >> 20 minute meeting, ended up being about essentially nothing that was relevant to any of these things and that's all it
is. and that's all they've got. that's not the premise that got them in the room. and then it was essentially abate and switch to talk about that. and everyone has basically said that in testimony already. so this is nothing new. >> that's donald trump jr., his recollection of that meeting. he says it was a bait and switch. sounds like he was disappointed the russians didn't deliver the dirt. >> exactly. the whole point for his having the meeting was the expectation of dirt on hillary clinton and the fact that dirt didn't come doesn't change intent for me on what his intent was having the meeting. >> potentially the investigation of mueller and the team of possible obstruction of justice. last summer after the "new york times" reported about the meeting, the president personally dictated a statement that was misleading about the nature of this meeting,
suggesting it was about russian adoptions in the united states. >> again, this is -- the important thing is intent. the intent was to deceive. i think this is a significant backdrop to a determination about obstruction or conspiracy. >> the president and his team, they deflect on this issue by going after hillary clinton again, and suggesting there was collusion that she was engaged in with the republicans. from a tweet from the president. collusion with russia was real. hillary clinton and her team 100% colluded with the russians and so did adam schiff on tape trying to collude with compromising material on donald j. trump. we know hillary clinton paid through a law firm, through kremlin connected sources to gather information on donald trump. collusion is real with russia
but only with hillary and the democrats. we should demand a full investigation. that was the president tweeting, quoting dan bongino, saying looking forward to a new ig report. he didn't say that, put was quoting one of the supporters on fox and friends earlier. >> to me this kind of points out the inconsistency here. apparently it is okay for trump to go after dirt on clinton but not okay for hillary clinton to go after dirt on trump. to me, it is silly to try to make that assertion when he is doing the same thing. >> is there any truth to the argument made by trump and supporters that what hillary clinton did by paying that pr firm for the christopher steele dossier, based on allegations from russians that she did something illegal indirectly seeking foreign assistance in her campaign to obtain dirt on
her republican challenger? >> i think this goes to the point of to what extent she was knowledgeable about what the ultimate sources of the dossier were, whereas with trump camp, they knew very well it was russians. so i think there's an ambiguity there that makes it a foggier yes. >> final question. do you still have your security clearance? >> as far as i know. the technical term here is the threat to revoke my eligibility for access to classified information is i haven't had since about 20th of january, 2017 anyway, but to answer the question, no. as far as i know i still have it. >> so in other words, if one of your colleagues, former colleagues that's still in the u.s. intelligence community wanted to seek your advice, your history on some sensitive issue,
you could still brief that individual and get the latest information? >> if that person determined that he or she felt i had a need for the access to information, classified information, they could do that, so as far as i know now and the same is true with the others that were named, we still have our eligibility for access. and to my knowledge, no action has been taken. >> raised the question because the president specifically said he wanted john brennan, former cia director's clearance removed, and sarah sanders was naming others including you. as far as you know, they haven't taken action against you yet? >> as far as i know. >> thank you for joining us. >> thanks, wolf. following brneaking news in the trial of paul manafort. former deputy rick gates under a plea bargain has taken the stand as star witness for the prosecution. let's go to jim sciutto at the
courthouse in nearby alexandria, virginia. zrieb wh describe what it was like seeing manafort and gates together in the same room? >> reporter: it was a remarkable moment, wolf. i've seen some cold stares in my life. this was a particularly cold stare coming from former boss, paul manafort, sitting in the defendant's chair with arms crossed, looking about ten feet away at rick gates, his former deputy, long time deputy. as rick gates recited a list of alleged crimes, confirming to the prosecutor his knowledge of those crimes and saying through the list that he was doing this at manafort's direction. what was on that list. he says he set up 15 foreign bank accounts they didn't report for the purpose of hiding foreign income from the u.s. tax system. he says they filed false tax returns. he said they failed to register
as a foreign agent as they were doing work for a foreign government, in this case, pro-russian leader of ukraine, and all the while there, his former boss, paul manafort, watching and listening as rick gates ticked off his account of each of those alleged crimes. >> what do we know about the cooperation agreement between gates and the prosecution, the mueller team, and how it is playing out now? >> reporter: well, it's interesting. the first thing the prosecutor asked gates to do was to look at his cooperation agreement, confirm that his signature was on it, confirm his initials were on each of the pages, which he said the judge instructed him to do to show that he had read each of the pages of that cooperation agreement, just to sort of reaffirm that he agreed with what he stated at the start of this. then the prosecutor went on to reveal in his cooperation rick gates revealed other crimes that to this point have not been
known, should say alleged crimes, one of them being that rick gates admitted he stole from paul manafort hundreds of thousands of dollars. he did so by filing false expense claims. you had rick gates there, the former deputy and i should say former deputy chairman of the trump campaign in 2016 for those months saying not only that he committed crimes at paul manafort's direction but that he also stole from paul manafort to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. so a lot of alleged wrongdoing going on in that courtroom behind me, and a number of days to go as the prosecutors make their case, wolf. >> pretty gross when you think about that. jim sciutto. thank you very much. how is robert mueller going to treat president trump's admission that the purpose of the trump tower meeting with the russians was to get dirt on hillary clinton? plus, the first lady forges her own course and publicly
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with the discussions. that follows a weekend tweet with the president saying the purpose was to get damaging information about hillary clinton. mr. trump and his son donald trump jr. initially claimed the meeting was designed to discuss russian adoptions here in the united states. let's dig deeper with correspondents and analysts, gloria borger. why is the president admitting to the true purpose of the meeting? >> i think it is on his mind. you never know why donald trump is tweeting about anything, but i think he is probably worried about his son as dana bash is reporting, and he wants to sort of say look, everybody does it. everybody gets opposition research, this is no big deal, somebody comes in, wants to give you dirt on your opponent, so what. so what. everybody does it. so it has shifted from suddenly a meeting about russian adoptions and don't forget the president dictated that statement from air force one about this meeting to now being well, so, it is not a big deal. and i think that's the point he wants to get across to his supporters is look, democrats do it, republicans do it, and my son is not to blame.
>> i have been told by some supposedly that know the first rule of damage control in washington, if there's bad news about to come out, you release it first instead of letting adversaries release it. that may be behind the theory as well. phil mud, how is robert mueller going to treat this admission from the president? >> let's start from the outset, going into summer vacation, like we have a thousand piece jigsaw puzzle and one piece fell into place. one of the difficult things to look at in any investigation is what people are thinking, the why. in this case, the president just did us a small favor. he put in a piece of the jigsaw puzzle. he explained clearly the why was they were willing, that is trump people, his son, willing to engage in an illegal act, potentially acquire information from a foreign power which would have violated the law. the center of that jigsaw puzzle is still out there, and we don't have the picture on the box to know what that is, and that is one question.
if they were willing to accept that information, if the president acknowledged that in his tweet, did anybody in this meeting or any other meeting accept anything from a russian intermediary. i suspect the special counsel knows part of the answer to that already. that's the piece of the puzzle we don't know yet. one piece in today, still a lot of pieces missing. >> let me read the exchange before the meeting to set up the meeting that donald trump jr. had with rob goldstone, british intermediary that set up the meeting at trump tower with russians. this is to donald trump jr. this is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of russian and government's support for mr. trump helped along by those involved. in that text exchange said quote if it's what you say, i love it, epilat especially later in the summer.
dirt to release closer to the election in november. how important is the phrase russia, its government's support. >> from a legal standpoint less significant that accepting foreign campaign contribution is illegal, whether from a public official or private individual. from a national security perspective, it is incredibly significant, wolf, it is another reminder that this meeting was likely part of a state sponsored attack on our country. we know that vladimir putin ordered meddling in our election, and that included his reliance on a multi facetted, broad network of intermediaries to laundromater information, to make contacts, and try to trap officials like donald trump jr. from counter intelligence stand point, also quite significant. donald trump jr. knowingly went into a meeting with a foreign hostile power to accept illegal information. it is pure logic.
you don't have to be a counter intelligence maven to know this, but if a foreign government happens to call you up and say they have exactly the information that you need and that you're looking for, they probably have an ulterior motive. >> you used to work for director of national intelligence. since the story broke last year, it has become clear according to all sources that the russian lawyer there at trump tower, natalia veselnitskaya, had a closer relationship with putin than initially reported. so how does the russian government, and you used to work in this area, how does the russian government use people like veselnitskaya, often referred to as cutouts? >> the use of cutouts is typical russian trade. veselnitskaya would have been an intermediary between agents and operatives involved in espionage, someone that gathered information, carried information between individuals involved in espionage. she would have been someone that
would have taken orders between the two. one of the interesting things about someone like veselnitskaya is they're not typically read in on the full scope of whatever the espionage effort is, but i think the point about her being close to vladimir putin is really interesting because as we learn more about the relationship between veselnitskaya and vladimir putin and how close they were, we learn more about who she was taking orders from, and then look at the fact that she was able to get this meeting in trump tower. we get much closer to a direct link between vladimir putin and his orders and the president of the united states. and that's something that really concerns us. >> donald trump has said of course he knew nothing about this meeting. i was talking to a source today that said that don jr. has always wanted to please his father and would have gone to him and said either we just had, we're about to have this meeting, we know trump gave a speech the next day talking about information he was going to give on hillary clinton, so i
think that all of this needs to be unravelled. if i'm donald trump's lawyers, i'm telling him to stop talking about this because they know a lot without this meeting, and he doesn't know what they know. so it's very, very dangerous, dicey for him to be doing this. >> where is this headed. mueller supposedly knows more about this meeting than any of us have a clue about. >> i think there's only a couple pieces left. talking the past few minutes whether people like don jr. and president of the united states are going to sit down for interviews. great irony with the white house complaining the investigation won't shut down, every other day they come up with a roadblock why the president can't talk to the investigators. no wonder they can't close the investigation. that said, i know mueller. he doesn't want to sit around doing this forever. if he is not done with more indictments by early september, so he doesn't interfere with midterms, i'm going to guess
something is out by end of the year. we're not doing this in mid 2019. i would lay a bet on that. >> stick around. there's more news, including the first lady contradicting the president of the united states wun once again. details of the latest break between the trumps. possible second summit between president trump and north korean leader kim jong-un. we're learning new details. stand by. are you taking the tissue test? yep, and my teeth are yellow. time for whitestrips. crest glamorous white whitestrips are the only ada-accepted whitening strips proven to be safe and effective. and they whiten 25x better than a leading whitening toothpaste. crest. healthy, beautiful smiles for life.
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nba superstar lebron james is the center of melania trump's break with her husband. our white house reporter kate bennett is joining us. kate, the first lady isn't afraid to forge her own course, even if it counters the president's. >> that's right, wolf, this is a first lady with her own mind, her own opinions and her own spokesperson that released a statement that she agrees with the president, and sometimes she doesn't. it could appear that melania trump's timing, praising lebron james and his children's school in ohio was a swipe at her husband who questioned the nba star's intelligence less than 24 hours earlier. the cnn interview with james, quote, made lebron look smart which isn't easy to do. i like mike, the president tweeted. but according to melania's
spokeswoman, the first lady disagrees. quote, it looks like lebron james is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation, and just as she always has, the first lady encourages everyone to have an open the stark contrast is just the latest example of east wing versus west wing at the white house. as melania trump continues to define her own agenda. in recent weeks, the first lady has been quick to correct the record when it comes to her feelings, whether they compliment her husband's or not. amid the firestorm surrounding the president's alleged triste with porn star stormy daniels. rudy giuliani said this of melania. >> she believes in her husband. she knows it's not true. >> reporter: her spokeswoman fired back, i don't believe mrs. trump has ever discussed her thoughts on anything with mr. giuliani. when "the new york times" reported president trump didn't like his wife tuning into cnn
aboard air force one, melania's office swiftly declared she watches any channel she wants. when he husband's family separation policy caused international outrage, melania trump went to see detention centers near the u.s.-mexico border for himself. >> how i can help for these children to reunite with their families. >> reporter: whether it's taking a separate motorcade to the "state of t state of the union, stealing the spotlight with that white hat moment or slapping her husband's hand away in public. >> everybody loves melania. they love melania. >> reporter: the president doesn't appear to mind. this independent streak could just be part of who this mysterious first lady actually is. >> i'm very strong. people, they don't really know me. people think and talk about me like, oh, melania, oh, poor melania. don't feel sorry for me. i can handle everything.
>> reporter: now, of course, wolf, we remember that some of this messaging gets lost in some of these nonverbal cues. of course, that jacket that she wore, that infamous jacket, she's still trying to live that down in a way. certainly melania trump is forging her own path, saying what's on her mind and it's all a matter of getting to know this first lady as she finds her footing and kicks off her be best initiative. back to you. >> the jacket said, i really don't care, do you? all of us remember that jacket. kate bennett, thanks very much for that report. just ahead, controversy but no results from their first summit. is president trump now prepared to sit down again with kim jong-un? ninety-six hundred roads named 'park' in the u.s. it's america's most popular street name. but no matter what park you live on, one of 10,000 local allstate agents knows yours. now that you know the truth, are you in good hands?
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we could see a second summit between president trump and kim jong-un this year, despite north korea's continued development of its nuclear and missile programs, cited in a confidential u.n. report obtained by cnn. cnn's will ripley is joining us with the very latest. will, critics question whether the first summit accomplished anything. what's the latest you're getting? >> reporter: well, a source very close to the north korean side of things, wolf, is saying that a second summit could happen, possibly in a matter of months. president trump's own advisers are not ruling out the possibility, saying the president is keeping the door wide open for kim jong-un. almost two months after the
singapore summit with little if any progress on denuclearization, a source telling cnn, get ready for round two. the official who is familiar with the north korean position on denuclearization says there is a strong possibility of a second summit between trump and kim some time later this year. date and location to be determined. the president perhaps hinting about a future meeting, tweeting chairman kim last week, thank you for your nice letter. i look forward to seeing you soon. u.s. officials hand-delivering trump's letter to kim over the weekend. >> we're waiting for the north koreans to begin the process of denuclearization, which they committed to in singapore and have not yet done. >> reporter: the news comes amid ramped up rhetoric between the two nuclear-armed nations. speaking at this asian security security summit over the weekend. secretary of state pompeo warned countries like china and north korea not to violate sanctions.
>> any violation that detracts from the goal of denuclearizing north korea would be something that america would take very seriously. >> reporter: pompeo had a quick handshake but no meeting this weekend with north korea's top diplomat. instead, he met with his top chinese counterpart and pointing to sanctions and a lack of a peace treaty as major issues that could derail nuclear talks. >> we have a maximum pressure campaign on finances, sanctions that, frankly, make them feel the heat. >> reporter: a cnn source calling the latest statements a negotiating tactic to pressure the trump administration for a better deal ahead of the november midterm elections. world leaders will fly to new york next month for the united nations general assembly. will kim jong-un be one of them? could he make a visit to trump tower? my source says stay tuned.
wolf? >> we certainly will. of course we will. will ripley reporting for us from hong kong. thank you very much. and thanks to all of our viewers for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." "erin burnett outfront" starts right now. "outfront" next, breaking news, the star witness in paul manafort's trial taking the stand. manafort's right-hand man rick gates. will he take his old boss, his mentor down? plus the alleged russian spy reports multiple contacts with a trump associate. was she just a graduate student? trump saying the immediate can, quote, cause war. what's he talking about and why is he not the only member of his administration who believes that? who else does? let's go "outfront." good evening to all. i'm erin burnett. "outfront" tonight, the breaking news. bob mueller's star witness rick gates, trump's former